FIPA is joining over 50 major organizations and tens of thousands of Canadians today in a new campaign to tell the federal government to stop wasting billions on Canada’s hugely expensive online spying apparatus. The campaign is part of a worldwide day of action against online spying called the Day We Fight Back, and is being launched on federal Budget Day. It is expected that MPs will be asked to approve the rapidly growing annual budget for Canadian spy agency CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada).
CSEC is expected to cost taxpayers over $460 million this year, well above earlier forecasts of $420 million. CSEC’s inflation-adjusted annual budget has more than doubled over the past decade. Taxpayers are also on the hook for over $4 billion to build and operate a new CSEC headquarters, described as “the most expensive government building ever built” and as a “spy palace”.
The groups speaking out are members of the Protect Our Privacy Coalition, which is working for effective legal measures to safeguard Canadians’ privacy from government spies. The coalition includes over 45 organizations from across the political spectrum, along with over a dozen leading academics, privacy experts, and tens of thousands of Canadians. Coalition members are launching a new tool (http://thedaywefightback.ca) to make it easy for Canadians to tell their MP to take a stand against CSEC’s online spying and wasteful spending
The larger global campaign includes prominent web platforms such as Reddit and Mozilla. More information about the international campaign can be found at http://thedaywefightback.com
CSEC has recently been the subject of a series of stunning revelations highlighting how it is systematically collecting the private data of thousands of law-abiding Canadians. The government and security services are trying to hide the mass surveillance of their own people by misinterpreting the meaning and importance of ‘metadata’. However several privacy experts and Commissioners have pointed out that this type of data can reveal detailed personal information about Canadians including their medical history, political leanings, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and financial state.
If we can’t rein in this Cold War-era spying, let’s at least bring the laws they operate under into the 21st century.
Over 27,000 Canadians have pledged their support to a campaign aimed at stopping all illegal spying on Canadians, with more signing on every day at http://openmedia.ca/ourprivacy Join with us today and call on your MP to oppose this waste of our tax dollars on CSEC spying.